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Pharr and Wheelock - simultaneously?

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Pharr and Wheelock - simultaneously?

Postby PauldeEsperanza » Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:33 pm

Hello folks - lurking for a while, brand new as a poster to this wonderful forum.

I have tried to find some fairly consistent experience points, but as I haven't actually seen too much on this, here goes.

I really desire to read both Homeric Greek and Latin, as I tire of reading some much-beloved authors in translation. My "Greek" plan, using Pharr, is to gain some fluency with Homer, then Hesiod, then Lyric poets (Beginning with Alcman and Sappho), then onto Euripides, Plato and Herodotus.

I also have, and have begun, working through Wheelock's Latin. I find the Latin just takes root much more easily than my early work on Pharr; I suppose some of that must be my fluency in modern French, and perhaps the notion of inflection itself isn't all that foreign to me, having had some exposure to inflected languages previously (some Anglo-Saxon, and German).

My question is this - and I'm sorry if this has been asked, and I just missed it: As an auto-didact, does anyone have any specific experience trying both Pharr and Wheelock simultaneously? I should add that as a child, language acquisition was fairly easy, and some of that facility has been retained - though I definitely have slowed, some, as I near middle age.

I have seen various opinions from "never - acquire Latin first, then Homeric Greek," to "no issue," to "no issue - but get a bit of Latin started (say, 6 months), before doing both simultaneously.

I am torn, as there is so much of both I eagerly and badly wish to read. On the other hand, if there is an obvious pedagogical downside, I'd appreciate the experiences of others more advanced than myself.

(also posting this in the Pharr forum....sorry for the double-post, but as it applies to both texts, I was hopeful someone from either world will have tried this, and had some thoughts.)

Many thanks!
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Re: Pharr and Wheelock - simultaneously?

Postby furrykef » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:45 pm

I think if there's a disadvantage to learning both languages simultaneously, you'll find that out soon enough if you go ahead and try it. I think it's certainly possible, though there's no doubt that handling them one at a time would be easier. But passion is a very important thing in language learning, and I think you should take advantage of it whenever possible. Without passion you just can't learn languages very well -- hence why I learned Spanish badly in high school, but did it fine several years later on my own!

I went through Wheelock fine even though I've also been studying Japanese (and to a lesser extent, Spanish... and to an even lesser extent, Italian) at the same time. I know Ancient Greek is tough, but I bet Japanese is harder. At least Greek is alphabetic!

I tend not to work on multiple languages at a time, rather I sort of flip-flop between them -- once I get fed up with one I switch to another -- and I think this would probably fail spectacularly if I didn't have a flash card system such as Anki to help me practice all my languages every day. So while I'd recommend Anki anyway, I'd recommend it even more if you're going to be studying multiple languages at a time.

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Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
I also have a lang-8 journal where I practice Spanish and Japanese.
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Re: Pharr and Wheelock - simultaneously?

Postby PauldeEsperanza » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:38 pm

Kef, thanks for your thoughts, apologies for such a late reply (out of town).

I think I am concluding that as much as I am dying to learn both (mostly because I loathe reading things in translation), I bow to my age (and its demands, perhaps more than anything else), and likely will have to begin with Latin and gain some mastery in it before heading into Homer.

This, of course, will likely change tomorrow. Beyond the tongue's-tip taste I've already gotten from early Pharr, I am an intensely devoted fan of both John Fowles and Lawrence Durrell, two modern writers whose philhellenism suffuses their work so fully that it is almost too much to bear. :D
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Re: Pharr and Wheelock - simultaneously?

Postby Lex » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:03 pm

furrykef wrote:I know Ancient Greek is tough, but I bet Japanese is harder. At least Greek is alphabetic!


It's true that written Japanese is harder to learn, but I think the morphology and grammar of Greek is harder than Japanese; especially the verbs.
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Re: Pharr and Wheelock - simultaneously?

Postby columbula » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:46 am

Lingua Iaponica facilis est~! Simul amb linguibus iaponicae et latinae in universitate studi quattor annis. discere Iaponicam grammaticam facilior quam latinam. Item quia possum loqui audireque iaponica lingua, id teneo facilior.

Japanese is easy~ I studied both Latin and Japanese in university for four years at the same time. Learning Japanese grammar is easier than Latin grammar. And because I can speak in Japanese, I remember it better.
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